"Don't you see it's a gift to be alive?"
Carrollton, song titled - "Pass you by"
Ugh. Why are the lyrics to this song so easy to sing? Shoot, it's even easy to even recommend to a complete stranger or a close friend.
"Don't let the things you can't change
keep you away from the things that matter most.
You can rush from the sunrise, til dusk of the night sky and not see the beauty in both.
SLOW DOWN.... SLOW DOWN....
You gotta breathe in deep.
Open your eyes and set your worry free.
Before the moment's just a memory,
don't you see it's a gift to be alive?
Don't let the beauty of this life pass you by.
No problem you face remembers your name,
but the love ones around you will."
As I sit here this morning, this song is wrecking me. I know I have been handling these past several years with what appears as grace and strength. Truth be told, this past month has been the hardest of my life. I don't feel strong. I don't feel graceful. To be honest, I am rather pissy. (Is that even a word?) I am grumpy, short tempered and dealing with jealousy. Ew! who ever admits to this?
I have been. I have been jealous and ya know what? I have been mad. Rather angry. I am not feeling like a chosen, selected, predestined princess of the King. I am feeling like a guinea pig that is the laughing stock of the heaven. I feel like there is a committee, somewhere - that is seeing what else can be taken away from me. What else can be thrown at me. And I am tested over and again to see if I will still praise His Name.
Ask my man. Ask my boys (Don't. This is rhetorical question, not a literal request).
Will I still praise God? This is the loud gong I hear over and over from my adversary. He tells me that if God in heaven really loved me why does He allow________? (fill in the blank.)
Damn. That is a really crappy question.
Why didn't Gandalf's eagles just rescue the dwarfs and the hobbit instead of having them fight and struggle so hard to get the darn stone? Why does God allow evil? Suffering? Flooding, cancer, starvation, child abuse, war... I have to wrestle with this series of questions in order to answer the question, "Will I still praise God?"
If in fact, God loves me and is refining me, then do I have to roll over and take the abuse? That doesn't sound like a loving God. It sounds like the bully on the school playground, with a helpless butterfly and a magnifying glass. Cruel because he can; not because it's right. No, I don't think that is why God allows bad things to happen.
I think (scratch that), I know it's because we live in a very broken world. If we are to be His hands and feet, are we not to experience trials and refining? Sadness and depravity?
Funny. Thing. Happened.
When I started this blog back in January - I would have never guessed in a million years that I would have another two surgeries under my belt. In fact, I planned on cycling another couple thousand miles and pressing on... towards the finish line. But what exactly is that finish line? Is it just an imaginary line that we cross at death? Is it checking off all of my own desires on the list I call "Tracy's greatest accomplishments?" Could it perhaps be to invite as many people as possible to the finish line of this life as possible and inviting them into the greatest story ever told?
I believe it's the latter.
Funny thing happened on the way to the finish line...
Life is hard. If this life is all we have, then I think we are in a world of hurt. When folks come to know Christ, we tell them to "Come to Jesus, don't worry about changing first, just come." He will change you. We leave out that changing us, can really hurt. Having Christ change me has hurt my habits; hurt my language; changed my expectations; my plans; my hopes. Jesus is changing everything about me.... if only I let Him. He doesn't come into my spirit with a loud gong like the adversary no, He's more gentle.
Letting Him change me, is easier said than done. I think, up until this past month, I have been okay with the changes. I have had food taken away from me. I have had movie and TV shows taken away. I have had job or career choices taken away. I have had physical ability taken away. I have been humbled over and over and over and yet, there seems to be this endless list of things that can still be changed in me.
Yesterday, I read Psalm 32. Verses 3-5 in particular resonated with my heart. David - a man after God's own heart, sounded a lot like my quiet thoughts. I encourage you to read the entire Psalm. If you were led here, I think it's meant for you too.
"When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through all my groaning all day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me, my strength was sapped as in the heat of the summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to The Lord and You forgave the guilt of my sin."
You see, it's truth time. I have had an awful lot of ugly emotions building up in my heart. (groaning all day long). And then, they all came out.
Am I forgiven? Yes. I am. Do I feel it yet? No, I really don't. But I can't stop the tears as I write this, so I guess I feel more grace than I can verbalize.
Iniquity. Transgressions. Sin. Them are some ugly words that pack a wealth of emotion. They are also the three most common words in the Old Testament that represent evil thoughts and actions.
You see, we can not separate our thoughts and our actions. Oh, sure, I was able to do it for a long time. But unconfessed, only I and God knew the ugliness in my heart. Those most dear to me knew something was wrong, because I'd lash out verbally. Because you can not separate thoughts and actions. Eventually, we act out.
And here is where God is showing me grace. He has given me a husband who loves me. Doesn't always "get me," but he does love me. God has blessed me with two of the finest humans on the planet - my sons. They are better people than I am. And if all my whining, changing and humbling is so that my sons will grow into the godly men that will make a difference in this world, than once again, I will sacrifice my will for His. Not without holding on tightly some days, but I will.
"Don't let the beauty of this life, pass you by.
Life is like a runaway train... don't let it pass you by.